philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


New artwork uses artificial intelligence and gaming tech to create worlds

You could stand immersed forever in a new artwork at the Christchurch Art Gallery and never see the same thing twice.

In just one brief glimpse, three large projectors show a computer-generated giant egg with legs running precariously across a surreal and colourful virtual landscape. Then a figure with a polka dot face and a 1980s video projector with a head enter the scene and collide with the egg.

In Kahoots, a collaboration between artists Sean Kerr and Judy Darragh, is a humorous, surreal and surprising artwork that uses video game technology to immerse viewers in a self-generated virtual world.

Kerr used the artificial intelligence and machine learning functions of software designed to make video games to create a work that seems to have a mind of its own.

Live feeds from the virtual world are projected on three large walls in an exhibition space at the Christchurch Art Gallery. A fourth wall is covered in reflective foil and LED signs in the middle of the room feature animated flames.

See the full story here:


Fact Residency: Ash Koosha

Through his development of Auxumans, virtual beings designed to assist humans with the creative process, Koosha approaches A.I. and machine learning as democratising tool, a way to automate the means of production and to enable anyone to collaborate with Neural Networks, data sets and arrangement systems in order, in his own words, “to kill the ego of the artist as we know it and to give every human a chance to express.”

Koosha calls his own “zero-labour” musical output HALLUCiNATO and the very first Auxuman is named YONA. In the future that Ash Koosha envisions, these would be but two of countless different musical practices and virtual creative assistants, first generation technologies designed to change the notion of creativity as we know it.

See the full story here:


Opteran Technologies receives $2.8M to develop an AI honeybee brain

 Opteran Technologies, has just raised $2.8 million to build AI systems modeled on honeybee brains. 

Marshall told Digital Trends, “If you’re going to start building a model of any brain on the planet, why on Earth would you start with the most complicated one?”

Thinking Small

In the tech world, big ideas are usually what earn the biggest payday. However, it’s clear that thinking on a large scale is slowing down the process of AI development. Marshall and his team believe that focusing on smaller, more attainable goals is the key to eventual large-scale success.

That isn’t just a hypothesis. Data has already proven that honeybees are good problem solvers. Researchers from the University of London found that bees solved the traveling salesman problem faster than the world’s top supercomputers. The test requires the bee or computer to find the shortest route between flowers that are discovered in a random order.

See the full story here:


University of Helsinki launches Ethics of AI online course

The Ethics of AI course consists of seven sections, which include literature and assignments. The sections explore questions of ethics through practical cases, which have been provided by the project partners at the Ministry of Finance and other administrative bodies as well as Helsinki, London and Amsterdam.

“The City of Helsinki is developing digital services according to the mindset that they are making the lives of Helsinki residents easier and anticipating service needs. The widespread utilisation of digital services and artificial intelligence requires maintaining trust in the city’s operations,” added Jan Vapaavuori, mayor of Helsinki.

“In the future, a certain level of understanding related to AI will be a civic skill. In terms of artificial intelligence, it’s essential to also consider ethical viewpoints.”

A case provided by the City of Helsinki used on the course focuses on the use of AI in social and healthcare services as well as in forecasting the health risks of city residents.

“What if we had an algorithm at our disposal that could identify, on the basis of residents’ health data, those with a heightened risk of developing, say, cardiovascular diseases? added Pasi Rautio, project manager from the strategies division of the Helsinki City Executive Office

“We could invite the people in at-risk groups for check-ups, thus improving their lives and cutting healthcare costs. But would it be ethical?”

Access the free online course here:

See the full story here:


Why First Virtual Reality Art Prize Is Perfect For 2020

Earlier this fall, Christie’s marked a cultural milestone by auctioning its first augmented reality piece. The Life by Marina Abramovic sold for over $380,000triggering an ancient controversy: the price one pays for conjuring something out of nothing. It is fitting that 2020 closes with the launch of Virtual Reality Art Prize! Presented by Deutsche Kreditbank in cooperation with Contemporary Arts Alliance Berlin, it extends the official welcome for a new medium to the contemporary arts scene. Five finalists received funding to develop new works and showcase at the “Resonant Realities” exhibition at Haus am Lützowplatz in the spring of 2021.

In The ND-Serial artist Armin Keplinger investigates the liminality between analogue and digital spaces as well as “differentiations of extreme temporal levels”. Aporia by Patricia Detmering explores the conflict between the ideas of an open and closed society as informed by artificial intelligence and the artist’s experience growing up in East Germany. Artistic duo Banz & Bowinkel see a computer as an everyday medium and their Poly Mesh calls into question the seeming senselessness of avatar-driven interactions. Artificial Tears by Evelyn Bencicova deals with the culturally persistent stereotype of men as creators and women as machines unable to function as decision-makers. Meanwhile, Lauren Moffatt engages in a kind of speculative digital fiction in Image Technology Echoesinviting her audience into the head of two viewers perceiving the same painting differently. 

As long as potential buyers do not understand why they should spend $350 on the new Oculus Quest 2, whereas it seems natural to acquire the latest iPhone for over a thousand dollars, many branches of the VR industry, including the arts, will hardly reach sustainability.

See the full story here:


How to Turn Your TV Into a Remote Meeting Paradise

Medium subscription required


Can virtual reality offices recreate a coworker culture at home?

"You have the sense that you're in a real meeting, so if you're using those VR networking platforms, then you can meet as avatars with your other coworkers. You could also collaborate on design," says David Ripert, chapter president of the UK branch of the global VR/AR Association.

He describes VR as the "silver lining" of the pandemic, as companies are using it more and more to recreate physical events and conferences.

See the full story here:


Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Viewers Not Impressed With Augmented Reality Balloons

 Fans who are watching the various streams of the Parade have like noticed that some of the balloons are not physical balloons, but instead augmented reality balloons, and while there are some positive reactions, many aren't thrilled with how they look onscreen, leaving with a rather negative impression, and you can find some of the bigger reactions below.

They aren't close enough to the real balloons to be seamless, especially in the bigger examples, and some fans just aren't digging it. They much prefer the traditional physical balloons, which thankfully still make up most of the balloons at the parade.

"It is this weird uncanny valley version of the parade. Filmed in advance over three days with augmented reality nonsense instead of actually balloons? Hosts trying to pretend they are still presenting to a large crowd. Just very jarring and altogether unpleasant."

See the full story here:


Get your first look at Goo Goo Dolls “augmented-reality movie musical” ‘It’s Christmas All Over’

Goo Goo Dolls have announced details of It's Christmas All Over, an "augmented-reality movie musical" inspired by their holiday album of the same name.

The movie, created with the livestreaming platform FanTracks, debuts globally at 7 p.m. ET on December 12, though FanTracks subscribers can get a sneak peek at the day before.

In the film, Goo Goo Dolls travel through the past, present and future in search of the lost "Spirit of Christmas."  During their travels, which take them to city streets, subways, taxis, a 1940s-era speakeasy and the set of The Ed Sullivan Show, the band will perform songs from their holiday album and classic holiday standards.  The message: Even though we're all being kept apart by our current situation, we're all unified by the true meaning of Christmas.

See the full story here:


Using virtual reality to better understand auditory perception

The first project, led by Prof. Dr. Mathias Blau of the University of Applied Sciences in Oldenburg together with van de Par, aims to find out experimentally whether room acoustics can be realistically simulated in a virtual environment. 

The second project, led by Ewert, aims to find out how volunteers assess distances and movements using their sense of hearing. 

The third project, led by Debener and Hohmann, ... The aim is to understand how healthy people manage to filter out the voice of their current conversation partner from a variety of sound sources.

See the full story here: